Canberra Raiders hooker and former Knights junior Tom Starling is no longer facing six charges of attacking four police officers, including a female senior constable, during a Central Coast brawl.
The 22-year-old NRL player, who was not required to appear in Gosford Local Court on Thursday because of COVID-19, had initially been charged with five counts of assaulting a police officer in the execution of their duty, one count of affray and one of resisting or hindering an officer.
Defence lawyer Samar Singh-Panwar told the court Starling would be pleading not guilty to the one remaining charge of hindering four officers in the execution of their duty.
The court was not told why the prosecution had decided to drop the six charges.
Starling had been one of four men arrested after police were allegedly assaulted at the Shady Palms restaurant in Kincumber on the night of Saturday, December 5.
Two of the other accused men were Starling's brothers, Jackson and Josh.
Three charges against Josh Starling, 19, were withdrawn on Thursday and he pleaded not guilty to two counts of assaulting police, one count of resisting arrest and one count of common assault.
Charges of assaulting police and affray against Jackson Starling, 24, were withdrawn and he pleaded not guilty to one count of hindering police.
A fourth man accused over the alleged brawl, Jessie Byrne, 20, had three charges withdrawn but still faces one count of assaulting police and one count of hindering police.
Magistrate Jennifer Price adjourned the case against the three Starling brothers to March 11 and dispensed with their bail. The brothers were also excused from attending on the next court date.
Byrne's case was adjourned to February 4 for a plea or mention.
The Starling family, including the brothers' parents, had been out celebrating a 21st birthday on the night of the alleged clash with police.
Police alleged a brawl began when a 19-year-old man was asked to leave the restaurant but refused.
When the man was being escorted from the venue, police initially alleged Tom Starling and two other men, aged 24 and 20, became aggressive and assaulted police a number of times.
Police claimed Starling grabbed at an officer's pistol and one senior constable's hand was cut.
After Starling's arrest, the NRL said the incident had been referred to the game's integrity unit.
Raiders' coach Ricky Stuart came out in Starling's defence after charges were laid, saying the hooker claimed he was defending his mother and brother at the time.
Starling, whose face was cut during the fight, said he was trying to break up an altercation between his brother and another patron after a derogatory comment about their mother.
Starling, 22, made his NRL debut with the Knights in round 25 of the 2018 season. He had a breakout year in 2020 when star Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson tore his ACL, earning a two-year extension in Canberra.